Men's countdown: No. 18 South Carolina
We are counting down the top 30 men's teams heading into the fall college season.
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18. South Carolina
2012-13 Golfweek ranking: 25
Go-to guy: Sophomore Matthew NeSmith
Season outlook: Sophomore Matthew NeSmith made an immediate impact as a freshman last season, leading the Gamecocks with a 72.64 scoring average, notching seven top 10s and receiving honorable mention All-American honors.
He’ll lead a strong group of returnees for head coach Bill McDonald, who has four starters back from last year’s postseason lineup that finished T-27 at the NCAA Championship. The other three are sophomore Will Starke and juniors Caleb Sturgeon and Sean Kelly, who combined for seven top 10s. South Carolina did lose team captain Dykes Harbin, but junior Will Murphy, runner-up at this summer's South Carolina Amateur, saw action in six events last season and should do a good job filling that void. Freshman Ben Dietrich also will compete for playing time this fall on what is still a young roster.
The Gamecocks won once last season, but posted six other top-3 finishes, including seconds at the Southeastern Conference Championship and NCAA Columbus Regional. McDonald wants to continue to develop his young players, but would like to see them take that next step and post a few more victories this season.